As a child, the anticipation of Christmas was a truly magical time. People seemed to be naturally filled with niceness and smiles. We would also plan into our days to watch as many of those Claymation Christmas shows as we possible. Remember when they were only available to view one time each year? I can still see downtown Anoka all lit up when we would go to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Then there was Dietrich’s Toy Store on Main Street filled with all the dreams any little boy could imagine – Lincoln Logs, Model Cars and all those new-fangled electronic toys.
Barb and I were just talking yesterday about this glorious childhood sense of excitement as we drove into our neighborhood and enjoyed the bright lights of the season. It truly wasn’t so much about receiving gifts as it was about an overall sense of joy and expectation. In other words, it was about Advent even though we didn’t know it!
The season of Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit," begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the Church year for many Christians. This year at Oak Hill we will be following the Church year too with seasonal themes beginning with Advent Epistle texts.
During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.
This year we are calling our Advent series Joy Unleashed. As we gather before Christmas our prayer is that you will be filled with hope, peace and the joy of Jesus. God desires, no matter our age, that we would be filled with a sense of amazement that the Savior has come. The Light of the World has come; He is able to shine brightly in our lives and our souls.
May Joy Be Unleashed in us and through us!